Benefits of Echinacea Herb
Benefits of Echinacea include stimulating various immune system cells that act as weapons against infection.
It helps boost the cells' production of a virus-fighting substance called interferon.
Studies have shown that Echinacea enhances the ability of white blood cells (macrophages) to digest invading micro-organisms and increases the vitality of T-lymphocytes, which are crucial to a strong immune system.
Oral doses of Echinacea have been used to treat numerous viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including vaginal Candida albicans infections and genital herpes.
Scientific studies have also supported the Native American traditional use of this herb to speed wound healing.
Echinacea contains echinacein, a chemical that prevents germs from penetrating and destroying healthy cells while encouraging the formation of fibroblasts needed to form new tissue.
In addition, Echinacea has been shown to kill germs and decrease pain and inflammation when applied to external injuries. Topical preparations containing Echinacea can be used to speed the healing of cuts, burns, eczema, herpes, and cold sores.
Other benefits of Echinacea herb
Echinacea is most effective if taken at the first sign of a cold, the flu, or a sore throat.
Though findings vary, in one study, those using the herb for eight weeks were 35% less likely to catch a cold than those on a placebo.
If you already have the aches, congestion, or fever common to colds or flu, Echinacea can cause these symptoms to be less severe and to subside sooner.
Urinary tract infections can be helped by consuming extra fluids, including immune-boosting echinacea tea, which helps wash away the bacteria.
As a natural antibiotic and infection fighter, echinacea promotes the healing of all kinds of skin irritations, including burns, cuts and scrapes, boils, abscesses, canker sores, and eczema, as well as herpes infections (including genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles).
It can be applied topically to a wound or be taken internally to strengthen the immune system.
One theory is that this mysterious disorder represents the body's response to a past viral infection that permanently weakened the immune system. By bolstering the immune system and fighting any further viral (or bacterial) presence, echinacea may help those who suffer from this disorder.
Rotating echinacea with extracts of medicinal mushrooms may help to strengthen overall immunity during cancer treatments.
While additional research is needed to define the potential role of echinacea in fighting cancer, a small German study showed that in patients with advanced colon cancer the herb appeared to prolong survival in those who took it in conjunction with standard chemotherapy.
The herb presumably boosted the immune system's ability to fight invading cancer cells.
Echinacea Side Effects
People that are allergic to ragweed or other members of the aster family may be allergic to echinacea and develop hives or a rash.
Other reported complaints include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, sore throat, and upset stomach. In very rare cases, echinacea was reported to cause liver and kidney damage and irregular heartbeat.
People taking drugs that may harm the liver, such acetominophen, steroids, or antifungal medications, should not take echinacea. Echinacea may interfere with the action of drugs prescribed to suppress the immune system, such as prednisone.